The Green Bay Packers have gone through their fair share of drama over the past week, but they were still able to put together a very solid 2021 NFL Draft. It all started with the team’s decision to select Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes with the No. 29 overall pick. Stokes may not be a clear-cut future star, but there are a lot of factors that could help take him to that level.
Stokes is an extreme athlete with the speed of a track star and the athleticism to back it up. He has raw talent on the football field and will need to work on his tackling skills, but his ability to play the ball made him a very intriguing pick for the Packers.
One NFL scout spoke to NFL Analysis Network about Stokes and had some interesting thoughts about the new Packers’ rookie.
“(Eric) Stokes could end up being the steal of the NFL Draft. He is the most athletic cornerback in the draft and if he develops with a good coaching staff, he could end up being an elite lockdown cover corner. The development may be slow and the Packers should not expect him to start immediately, but long-term this could be the best pick in the second half of the first round.”
During his college career with the Bulldogs, Stokes ended up recording 78 total tackles to go along with a sack, a forced fumble, four interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, and 22 defended passes. To show the development that he made at Georgia, all four of his interceptions and both of his defensive touchdowns came during the 2020 season.
Standing in at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Eric Stokes has some good size for the cornerback position. Couple that with his elite speed and above average athleticism and the Packers could have themselves a good one.
Bringing in a young cornerback was a major need for the Packers. They saw Kevin King get torched throughout the entire NFC Championship Game by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jaire Alexander is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, but he needs an upgrade across the field from him.
Stokes could very well end up becoming the second star cornerback that the Packers needed. If he can develop into the playmaker that Green Bay thinks he can become, the defense will take a big step forward.
Expect to see Stokes come in and compete for some playing time as a rookie. He isn’t likely to start over King in Week 1, but as the season moves forward we could see more and more of him.